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What is the most recent quarter?

By Payel Bera

Reviewed by Vanessa Kintu

Fact checked by Paul Sorene

Most Recent Quarter definition

Knowing the most recent quarter definition (MRQ) is essential as investors and traders are likely to see MRQ information in a company's financial statements.

The simplest explanation of the most recent quarter is that it is a reference to the time in which earnings or other financial performance of a company or economy is. Specifically, as companies compile and report financial statements for each fiscal quarter, hence MRQ refers to the quarter that ended most previously. 

Before we undertake an in depth exploration of what the most recent quarter means we should understand why fiscal quarters are important for a company or economy. 

Quarterly performance (sales, earnings and revenue) helps determine a company’s health. A quarterly report will consist of the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. This helps to make an easy comparison with previous quarters.

But why quarterly? The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires companies to release quarterly disclosures in order to communicate the most recent quarter's performance to investors. Additionally, it is difficult to release financial statements every month, often the data compilation may be incomplete, hence it is available and compiled once a quarter ends.  

Understanding how quarters are divided will allow you to always know what the most recent quarter is. In the case of a fiscal quarter, the year begins in January and the first quarter ends in March, the second quarter ends in June and the third in September, the fourth runs from October through December.

Most recent quarter example

How does the most recent quarter work? Let us consider that a company follows the calendar year as its financial year. The year is divided into four quarters. If one is standing in July, then the MRQ refers to the quarter that ended on 30 June.

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